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Verbal Art November 13.docx

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Western University
Anthropology 1020E
Alexis Dolphin

Verbal Art, Performance and Performativity How language used to accomplish social goals? Main idea:  Everything we say is a form of social action o Language not only describes our world, it helps to create it o Identity is a process of repeatedly and continuously doing, not a state of being o Performances of verbal art help change or maintain social relationships Performativity: Saying is Doing  Speech act Theory o John Austin (1962) how to do things with words  Performatives: o Utterances that do something to change the state of things in the world or have a real effect. Ex. Getting married, becomes reality.  An example: I promise,  Saying the words causes an effect, such as emotions or change in status  Change something, the state of the world  Words are important in creating reality of what has happened  Is not o Felicitous performatives depend on authority of speaker and appropriate context of utterance  Is not a question of true or false,  does the person have the authority to make that declaration?  Felicitives if effective performances  Everything we say can be kind of Performative  Performativity Identity: o Judith Butler:  Gender is a continuous performance that we repeat throughout our lives  Something that people repeat, “perform” their gender  Through clothes worn  Activities  Choice of expression, vocab etc....  We do this as we are assigned at birth, and these expectations for boys and girls are placed. They slowly start to realize what is expected o Identity is a process of repeatedly and continuously doing, not a state of being  It is possible to change  Transvestites  Transgender people  it is a choice of how we act and how we want to be  people consciously try to subvert those kind of choices  not the same in every culture  in language: what do we expect female and males to speak like?  What is expectable varies from culture to culture  The fact that it isn’t the same universally and varies shows us that their is choice and it is culturally learned  How the way people speak combines with identity  Such as changing the way you speak in religious setting  Job interview, project self as an desirable employee, have to change self  Richard Baudman o PERFORMANCE:  A display of verbal skills (and communicative competence)  For an audience that evaluates the performers  People have different levels of these confidence and there will always be an audience that evaluates it, even when theres nobody around you can evaluate on your own performances
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